Aerial Combat

Ork flying ace shot down outside Susa City

Warhammer 40K blog

Fast Eddy Rickken Orker, in his trademark red Dakkajet with fiery wings, pulls behind his opponent in hopes of shooting the “puny humie” out of the sky.

“Hey, runt! Got a humie coming at us.”

Flying his Dakkajet toward the humie defenses, Fast Eddy Rickken Orker had a lopsided grin on his face as he eyed the Imperial fighter jet moving toward him. He loved a good brawl in the sky. There was nothing better.

A diminutive Grot stuck his out out of a maintenance hatch behind the ork pilot. “I just got this plane back together, Boss. Are you gonna get it shot up again?”

“You little punk,” the big ork growled. “If I didn’t need you, I’d pull your arms off. Getting shot up is part of the fun. Now get ready.”

The Grot disappeared back into the fuselage, and Rikken Orker throttled his jet engines to full speed. “Let’s see what ya got, humie.”

IMPERIAL VOXCAST (3 870 738.M41)—One of the most feared orks in the skies of Hegira, the ork flying ace known as Fast Eddy Rikken Orker was shot down today in a dogfight with an Imperial fighter.

It is the first known aerial defeat of the greenskin’s most dangerous Dakkajet fighter pilot. Rickken Orker is presumed dead.

The Imperial pilot that defeated Rikken Orker, Lieutenant Emil Thuy, had three other confirmed kills of ork aircraft prior to today’s engagement. Adding Rikken Orker’s defeat to his tally, Thuy is only one kill shy of being awarded the status of “ace.”

Warhammer 40K blog

In an aerial battle, terrain is largely irrelevant. In this scenario, both aircraft started on opposite sides of the table, one facing the other.

The dogfight began when Lt. Thuy was on a routine patrol southwest of Susa City. Flying at 5,000 meters, he identified a red Dakkajet moving directly toward him. Finding himself in a nose-to-nose tactical situation, he immediately headed toward the enemy.

According to Thuy, the aerial fight was brutally simple.

“When I saw the greenskin, he was coming right at me—and there was no time to maneuver. So we went straight at one another, guns blazing.”

Hundreds of ork projectiles were thrown at Thuy’s aircraft as the opposing jets passed each other, and several struck Thuy’s Voss-Pattern Lightning Strike Fighter without doing serious damage. In response, Thuy fired his twin-linked lascannon which missed the fast-moving ork aircraft.

As the two craft passed, Thuy attempted a risky “reverse” turn, a maneuver that calls upon the pilot to roll his craft over, then half-loop around to reverse direction. Such a turn puts incredible stress upon an aircraft, but Thuy succeeded in his effort and put his plane behind the ork.

Hastily taking aim, he managed to damage Rikken Orker’s aircraft with a hasty shot, but then lost his firing opportunity when the ork ace performed a tight turn. At this point, Thuy reported seeing a Grot opening a hatch and attempting to make repairs, although senior officers quickly dismissed the report as a hallucination under stress.

Dogfights are a confused engagement, naval pilots explain, with aircraft turning and spinning and firing in a complex and deadly dance. As a result, things happened so quickly that Thuy himself admitted he could not offer a blow-by-blow account of what followed.

But the fight’s conclusion came, he said, after a near-collision between the constantly turning aircraft. Rikken Orker attempted a very sharp turn—and promptly stalled his plane—essentially losing control and falling toward the ground in a spin. The ork managed to stabilize his plane, but with his attention devoted to controlling his craft, Thuy was able to get behind the ork’s Dakkajet. A direct hit with the Lightning’s lascannon took off a wing, and the ork craft went into a dive, fell 3,000 meters, and crashed into the desert floor.

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With both planes damaged, Lt. Thuy manages to get behind Rikken Orker and put a lascannon round into the plane. The shot didn’t destroy the plane but forced it into a spin that made the ork pilot vulnerable to Thuy’s continued fire. The Dakkajet crashed in “no man’s land” to the southwest of Imperial lines.

“The action of Lt. Thuy in shooting down the ork flying ace reveals the true determination and ferocity of our Imperial men at arms,” said Gen Tiberius Vectrix, supreme commander of Imperial forces on Hegira. “It is men such as Lt. Thuy who will ultimately destroy the xeno threat to our home.”

Somewhere southwest of Susa City, the wreck of a red Dakkajet smouldered in the crater created by its crash landing. For an hour, there was silence—only occasionally broken by the faint whisper of a desert breeze.

Then the silence was broken. There was the faint screech of bending metal, and a blackened sheet of the aircraft’s fuselage was pushed aside by a muscular, green hand.

A moment later, the head of  Fast Eddy Rikken Orker appeared through the newly made opening in the wreck. Blinking in the sunlight, his face streaked with blood, the ork stiffly crawled out of the wreckage. A moment later, a smaller greenskin followed, groaning and whimpering.

“Oh, Boss. What a mess! It’s gonna take me forever to get this bucket back in the air.”

“Shut your trap,” Rikken Orker muttered.

The big ork studied the wreckage for a moment.

“It’s not like this is my worst landing ever,” he told the Grot. “And look at the bright side. There’s a humie up there who can offer up a good fight. Now that’s good news.”

TheGM: The Gaffer and myself decided on a change of pace and pulled out his Stormcloud Attack rules. He put his “famous” ork pilot in the air in his trademark red Dakkajet with yellow flames on the wings. I pulled out my pride and joy: a Forge World Voss-Pattern Lightning Strike Fighter from Forge World.

We rolled up the Chance Encounter scenario, which seemed appropriate for our first game. With a limited understanding of the rules, a simple go-at-one-another-style fight, one on one, was perfect.

I don’t think either one of us had any idea of what we were doing at first. Still, it was fun, and as the game went on, we began to get a sense of the tactics required. But, truthfully, Lt. Thuy didn’t win by skill—he won because a lucky hit sent Rikken Orker into a spin and he failed to pull out in time.

What did Napoleon say? Something about he’d rather have a lucky general than a good one? That about sums up my victory. Thuy was lucky.

The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.

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